[MINUTES] Coucil of Elders #Elderday Meeting 2/12

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Bill Record
Lady In White Hat

Small meeting only had 5 towards end
Discussion About Elder Day Sunday Event Basket
Need to Create Community Buy in to participation
Sunday Day of Information & Cultural Events

Report Back from #OccupyTownSquare
Occupy Circus Gimmick HUGE sucess

Report Back from Direct Action & #MDay Planning
DA created a calendar of escalation to culminate in May First Celebrations
Asked WGs to plan events for May Day

Slim Picken’s Gimmicks:
Street Theatre Infromation events. #FlashMob Model
Bill & Justin will bring idea back to group next week

Report Back from Info:
Distrubution of #ElderDay Flyers & discussion of how to get more produced
Discussion of Button Project: Group needs to pick an avatar

One Response to “[MINUTES] Coucil of Elders #Elderday Meeting 2/12”

  1. alvin steinberg

    Some thoughts of what is wrong with the Economy

    A large part of the economic troubles affecting the middle class in the United States and Europe are brought about by contemporary international trade. The theory is that we do what we do best and trade with others for what they do best. The problem is that a large part of what the third world does best are the areas that we also do best and they charge a lot less than us. We cannot compete effectively.

    China turns out about eight times as many engineers as we do and they get paid about one sixth of what an American gets especially when you figure American pensions, unemployment payments, health care, social security payments, etc. The third world also pays less than we do for scientists, mechanics, cleaning people, clerks, etc. Hundreds of millions also speak English.

    It is routine to do work in other countries and send down simple clerical work as well as computer programming, etc. through the Internet. The work costs a fraction of what it costs to do in the United States. People don’t know the difference. Many businesses think that it is better to do a lot of the work over seas. Even goods sent by freighter are low cost today.

    Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Graholm said that when she was governor she was told that a factory in a town of 8,000 people was planning to move out of the state and it would devastate the town. She told the person who told her that not to worry. She would give them perks to keep the factory in the town.

    Governor Graholm went to the town and spoke to the executives. She told them that if they stood in the town they would not have to pay any more Michigan taxes and they would get other perks. She was told that there was nothing that she could give them as they were moving to Mexico and would get labor for $1.50 an hour. She said that she was stunned. That is a sample of what is going on in our country today.

    In addition to the low cost of oversees labor New York State Attorney General Spitzer investigated corruption in the financial industry after the 2001 stock market crash. He found E mails that he said conclusively proved corruption. The Attorney General did not sue the perpetrators as the industry pays billions of dollars in City and State taxes and that would go lost as would tens of thousands of high paying jobs. He believed that the industry could not pay back the vast amount of money lost by investors. He warned them not to do wrong in the future. In 2008 there was another stock market crash because they violated the trust of the investors. There was also a recent scandal by some large banks regarding the Libor interest rates that effect a variety of lending from mortgages, credit cards, etc.

    China increases its research and development budget about 20% a year though they still spend a lot less than we do for research. Since they earn less than we do their research does not necessarily have to be as good as ours. All Chinese PhD science graduates get good research jobs by Chinese standards. Many American biology and chemistry graduates work in jobs called post docs. They get about $12,00 an hour. Many have major student tuition debt at times totaling over $100,000, for their eight years in college. Some can’t get any serious jobs in research and must settle for menial jobs.

    Thousands of Doctorial graduates have to wait until they are an average of 42 years old before they get National Institutes of Health(NIH) grants. The NIH is the major medical research arm of the Federal Government. Some get them for about four years and when they expire they are not renewed. They are unable to carry on with their research. That is because the NIH is under funded. it’s budget is pretty much frozen which means a 3% yearly cut after inflation from an already anemic budget. In reality it is a about a $900,000,000 yearly cut. Only 20% of the grants are funded. These affect researchers from some of the most prestigious institutions such as Harvard University, MIT, Stanford University, The Sloan Kettering Institute, etc.

    It costs about $8700 on average to pay for an average Americans health bill. That is about $30,700 for a family of four. According to the Congressional Budget Office medical costs will go up to 25% of the Gross Domestic Product by 2025. That will bring the cost of medical care up to $50,000 for a family of four. (With the growth of the economy the cost will be even more than $50,000 for a family of four). Medical research can help bring down the cost of health care by finding cures and better treatments. We are now learning how to treat the genetic aspects of illnesses which we were never able to do before.

    Americans used to keep their money banks and usually got between 3% and 6% interest. Now the interest rate is often between .3% to .4%. If somebody has $100,000 in the bank today they get $300 to $400 dollars a year. Before the recession $100,000 deposit earned between $3,000 and $6,000 a year in interest. Depositors had more expendable income from their deposits.

    The Internet and automation is also responsible for unemployment and lower pay. The Post office used to have about 900,000 employees. It now has about 500,000 workers and the Post Office wants to lay off another 100,000 workers. That is because of the Internet where people send E mails instead of letters and better work saving machinery. This type of problem is affecting businesses throughout the United States.

    International trade with the third world, financial corruption, the high cost of health care, and the low interest rate brought about the weak economy in order to stimulate the economy is responsible for the poor performance of the United States and European economies. The fact that a business can threaten to move part or all of its business over seas is enough to stop large salary increases.

    Even a stimulus program won’t solve the problem in the long range. An increase in taxes to the wealthy and giving the money to the lower earners would help a little as they would spend the money and stimulate the economy but it wouldn’t completely solve the problem. We must rethink the international trade situation with the third world and greatly increase our scientific and technological research and development to make us more productive. We must also stimulate worker training to make us more productive. The fact that interest rates are very low and we have unemployed workers means that we have room to grow with low inflation. In fact we can shrink the deficit with growth